Book Review and Blog Tour: Whisper House (Rylan Flynn #3) by Dawn Merriman

Book: The Whisper House

Author: Dawn Merriman

Pub Day: Feb 13th 2024

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In a haunted mansion, ghosts are not the only danger…

I’m Rylan Flynn. I hunt for ghosts and restless spirits, and solve the mysteries that make them haunt the living.

My ex-boyfriend Declan never believed in my abilities. Now he thinks his home is haunted and he’s pleading for my help. Declan lives in a huge mansion, full of history and secrets.

When I arrive at the house, I find a dying woman in the gardens. It seems like the spirit in Declan’s house may be the only witness to a murder.

For the first time, Detective Ford Pierce asks for my help. Inside the mansion, we find mysterious locked rooms and shattered windows, but the ghost stays hidden. Why won’t it speak to me?

I’m almost ready to give up when my best friend, Mickey, is snatched from her home in the middle of the night. The killer has her, and time is running out.

I’ll do anything to bring Mickey back. But will my desperate search for clues uncover the truth, or lead me right into the killer’s hands?

The Whisper House is the third book in Dawn Merriman’s thrilling and addictive Rylan Flynn series. With twisting mysteries and a touch of romance, it’s perfect for fans of Wendy Wang, Heather Graham and Dean Koontz.

I’ve started in the middle of a series again, jumping into The Whisper House, the third of Dawn Merriman’s Rylan Flynn series, without reading the first two. Whoops! I don’t think my enjoyment of the story suffered, though.

Rylan Flynn can communicate with ghosts. And now her ex-boyfriend, Declan Rathborne, is calling. He used to make light of her abilities, but now he’s asking her to come check out his palatial mansion to see if it’s haunted. Rylan and her best friend, Mickey Martinez, plan to use the mansion as an episode on their ghost-hunting show, but they get more than they bargain for when they see a woman dash into the gardens. There’s a murder on their hands, literally, as the woman dies in Rylan and Mickey’s arms as they try to help her.

But that’s not the only mystery Rylan finds herself involved in. Even more traumatic, Mickey is kidnapped not long after the unknown woman is killed, after she and Rylan had a falling out. Who took Mickey, and why? In both cases, spirits may hold the key to solving the mystery, and Detective Ford Pierce isn’t above asking Rylan to do what she can to help.

Merriman gives us a likable heroine in Rylan, and one who’s dealing with issues of her own. Her ability to speak to spirits is due to a childhood trauma. Her dead mother’s ghost lives in her house. A mysterious howling something lurks in her brother Keaton’s old room. And will Ford Pierce ever see her as anything other than a friend’s little sister?

Merriman also weaves multiple threads together skillfully, and she kept me guessing as to whether the two mysteries were connected. We’ve got the investigation into the unknown woman’s death and Mickey’s abduction. Rylan’s Aunt Val is dealing with her own unresolved issues. And Rylan is trying to figure out whether her feelings for Ford are reciprocated and what the heck is up with Declan. It all combined to make for a quick, entertaining read!

There were a couple of things that stuck in my craw just a bit. First, Mickey’s parents came into town when their daughter went missing, and apparently they demanded that the state police be given jurisdiction. It’s been a while since my prosecutorial days, but I don’t recall family members of crime victims being able to demand that a particular law enforcement agency get involved in a case. I can see a chief deciding to take officers off an investigation because of their personal involvement, but I don’t think victims’ families get to say what agency has jurisdiction. Not unless things have changed since my prosecutorial days.

Second, I really appreciate that Merriman makes the effort to inject a little faith into her paranormal mystery. The book had no adult situations, no swearing to speak of (if there was any, it wasn’t enough to stand out in my mind), and I do love a good, clean story. But Rylan’s use of prayer to seek divine assistance in communicating with spirits doesn’t really square with my understanding of Scripture. It’s a fun story idea, but I wouldn’t recommend praying for help talking to any deceased loved ones.

Those two things notwithstanding, this book still gets high marks. Characters I cared about, not one but two mysteries, keeping me guessing almost until the big reveal – these add up to The Whisper House being a delight to read! I can’t wait to see what Rylan gets up to next.

Thanks to Second Sky Books and NetGalley for an advance copy. I am writing this review voluntarily. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

About the author:

Dawn Merriman writes creepy small town murder mysteries from her small farm in northeast Indiana where she lives with her husband and teenage children. You can often find her with muck boots on her feet and a story in her head. She enjoys animals, auctions, snorkeling and archaeology.

Dawn Merriman grew up a small town farm girl, on a small time pig farm in Indiana. She spent her young adulthood sitting on her bedroom floor scribbling stories in notebooks. She won the “Northeast Indiana Young Writers” award as a sophomore in high school.

After battling severe depression, she wrote her debut novel “How Murder Saved My Life” as therapy, mixing her love of murder mysteries and farming with climbing out of the darkness of illness.

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